“Low speed, long corners the main issue to address” for Scuderia Ferrari F1 — Leclerc

Photo Credit: Scuderia Ferrari
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Ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend, Charles Leclerc has predicted Red Bull to make a step in performance as F1 returns to permanent circuits over the next few weeks following recent events at Miami, Monaco and Canada.

Max Verstappen won four of the first five races and looked set to dominate the championship for a third straight year.

However, struggles for the RB20 on kerbs and bumps has shown some big vulnerabilities at the aforementioned venues.

Upgrades from McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari has also helped to close things up at the front of the field.

Leclerc is pleased with how Ferrari has managed to stay in contact with Red Bull despite the strong start to the year made by the Milton Keynes-based team.

“I expect that from Barcelona onwards Red Bull will do a step up. I hope it’s not the case. But I think we’ve done a good job. When we look at our first part of the season, considering us being a step behind Red Bull, we are not that far.

“We haven’t lost many points and that was the most important thing. So now we just need to keep focusing on ourselves.

“Hopefully bring new parts as quickly as possible in order to close the gap in tracks that are a bit more normal to Red Bull and put them under a bit more pressure.

Ferrari’s worst race of the season came in China as they struggled to get anywhere near the Red Bulls and Lando Norris in the race, with Leclerc and Sainz a distant P4 and P5.

The Monegasque driver explained that long, slow speed corners like turns 1 and 2 in China is an area where Ferrari needs to improve, adding that a small upgrade could make a huge difference to their season as the margins are so close.

“I still believe that one of our weaknesses is the long, slow speed corners. We’ve been struggling quite a bit in China because of that.

“And this is still an area that we need to work on with the car. So I would say that this is the main issue to address.

“But then it’s not only that. It’s a lot of little details added up together that makes a difference.

“Obviously, just a new package with a bit more downforce and a bit less drag — which is completely obvious — will be enough to close the gap, because at the end, we are speaking about maybe two and a half tenths in the worst scenarios, which is really little when it’s hundreds per corner.

“So we’ve got to look at every single detail. And just by optimising our own package, you can already gain a tenth, which is half of that gap.

“I think there are lots of little details that we need to put together. But if I have to pinpoint one, it’s the low speed, long corners.”

The good news for Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz is that Ferrari’s next updates will be coming at the Spanish Grand Prix, two weeks and races earlier than scheduled.

This sizable upgrade package is placing emphasis on gaining lap time via a new floor, as well as tweaks to the rear bodywork, the tray area near the diffuser, and various aerodynamic deflectors.

Ferraris sits 49 points behind Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship following the double DNF in Canada.